Christmas is the favorite holiday of many, with plenty of cheer to go around as people reunite with loved ones, sing carols, exchange gifts, and more. But even the most wonderful time of the year has its dark side. That's where Graveyard Shift comes in!
We're taking a look at some of the best, most memorable Christmas movie villains of all time. A couple come from holiday horror films, like Krampus, Black Christmas, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. But even regular seasonal classics like A Christmas Carol and Home Alone have some pretty twisted Christmas villains in their cast that deserve our appreciation, so here are some of the most iconic ones. Vote up the Christmas villain you think would rank highest on Santa's naughty list, and let's see who comes out on top!
- Photo: Die Hard / 20th Century Fox
Sure, Die Hard antagonist Hans Gruber's villainous motivations are a little unoriginal: money, power, blah, blah, blah. But he executes his plan with such finesse, it's difficult not to be impressed by him anyway. He's intelligent, eloquent, and bloody ruthless, having orchestrated his complicated heist in a way that leaves behind as much carnage as possible. Had he won, he would have ended up causing arguably the most damage out of any of the other villains here - a bombed building, dead hostages, murdered FBI agents, and $640 million in his pocket to strike again in the future.
Of course, John McClane stops him. But even after he's lost, he uses his last few moments to attempt to drag McClane's wife down with him, never giving up as he's dangling from the top of a skyscraper with the cold pavement far below.
Outside of the character, it was also Alan Rickman's first major film role, and he's as much a treasure in it as in everything he did after. He gives Gruber that extra level of charisma that couldn't have come from anyone else.16720On the naughty list?
KrampusPhoto: Krampus / Universal Pictures
Krampus (2015) gets quite a bit right about this traditional holiday villain's portrayal. As in folklore, the entity sports both human and goatlike features (like horns and hooves), carries a cursed sack for carting off victims to hell, and aims to punish a badly behaved family that loses their Christmas spirit. He also appears to hail from Europe, having first haunted the Grandmother of the family when she was a little girl in Germany.
But what makes him a great villain? First off, he's an amazing foil to the Christmas hero, Santa Claus, and is a much more compelling threat than coal for being on the naughty list. Moreover, as a supernatural creature, he can't be beaten or reasoned with, which makes him even scarier. We see this in action in the film's climax, when the youngest son in the family genuinely attempts a heartfelt apology for his and his family's behavior, and shows that he's learned his lesson. For a moment, the hulking beast seems to accept it, then bursts out in vicious laughter and drags him to hell anyway. If that's not evil, what is?15215On the naughty list?
- Photo: It's a Wonderful Life / RKO Radio Pictures
Henry F. Potter, the main villain of It's a Wonderful Life, is what would happen if Ebenezer Scrooge and Biff Tannen raised a son together. He's a heartless money grubber, an opportunistic slumlord, and a holiday-spiritless grouch all rolled into one. If that somehow weren't enough, he's also a massive hypocrite, essentially robbing the main character, George, then trying to get him arrested for financial crimes.
It's difficult to find another villain so whole-heartedly despicable, with seemingly no positive qualities or even likability to get anyone on his side. He exists solely for the audience to despise. But, of course, that only makes it all the more satisfying when our hero triumphs over him.
Mr. Potter is also a great example of the banality of evil. He's not out murdering anyone with his own hands. He instead stays behind a cushy desk in an expensive suit and ruins lives through casually calculated business moves and selfishness. He's a villain that definitely exists in real life.10825On the naughty list?
Harry And MarvPhoto: Home Alone / 20th Century Fox
It's easy to feel a little bad for the Wet Bandits (or, later, Sticky Bandits) from Home Alone. After all, Harry and Marv get hit, torched, ironed, feathered, and generally beat the heck up for the entire last act of the movie. But hey, they tried to break into Kevin's house, they should have been prepared for the consequences!
Although they certainly are the "bad guys," Harry and Marv's appeal comes from their functioning as a comedy duo. Harry, played by Joe Pesci, is the brains of the operation, but his short temper (and stature) often get the best of him. He's balanced out by Daniel Stern's Marv, who is neither sharp nor brave, but has the muscle Harry needs to carry out their plans. Together they perform the hilarious slapstick routine that makes this film a classic (though they do have a few moments that were actually pretty frightening as a kid - Harry threatening to bite Kevin's fingers off comes to mind).
These lovable buffoons go to show that one doesn't have to be a maniacal, suave, Bond-type villain to be a memorable one.10422On the naughty list?